Tis the season for gathering with family and friends for festivities and feasting. But what if you have bad breath? Bad breath, or halitosis, can be embarrassing. But, in most cases, you can freshen breath until the odor subsides. Or, if bad breath is persistent, it could be a sign of oral or systemic health problems. Knowing what causes bad breath and what it could signal can help you and your dentist treat it. Your Livonia dentist, Dr. James Stewart, explains bad breath and how to curb it.
Origins of Bad Breath
As food we eat is digested and finally absorbed into the bloodstream, bad breath begins. As blood courses through our lungs, we breathe out food molecules from our previous meal or snack. If we eat strong-smelling food, the odor is more noticeable or offensive. Food particles between teeth also cause bad breath because of bacteria in the mouth. Excessive bacteria or plaque can lead to gum disease, which can cause more persistent bad breath. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, can also cause bad breath. With this affliction, a person does not produce much saliva. The body always produces saliva as an aid in cleansing the mouth of food particles and accompanying bacteria. If both remain for a long enough period, bad breath can begin. Sometimes, bad breath cannot be attributed to food. In these cases, there could be a yeast infection of the mouth or problems resulting from diabetes, a respiratory tract infection, or kidney issues.
If bad breath is caused by food, we can only mask the odor until we pass the food. Chewing gum or using breath spray helps hide the odor, but does not eliminate it. Brushing or using mouthwash can also temporarily freshen breath, but can also help keep bad breath from reoccurring. By removing food particles that are stuck between teeth, you keep bacteria from breeding in plaque buildup. Chewing gum can help produce saliva if not enough is present to comfortably cleanse the mouth between brushings. Your doctor or dentist can prescribe a course of treatment if bad breath is persistent and caused by something health related. Regular visits to the dentist help keep your mouth clean and can prevent problems from developing that may lead to bad breath.
See Your Livonia Dentist Today
Stay up to date with regularly scheduled appointments with your Livonia dentist. If you want to prevent or treat bad breath, visit Dr. Stewart at our 48154 dentist office. Call (734) 425-4400 today to schedule an appointment. We serve patients from Livonia and its surrounding areas.